UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, Middle East --
One of the most decorated Marines in American history, Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller once said, “Old Breed, New Breed, there's not a damn bit of difference so long as it's the Marine Breed." This poignant expression is a testament that although we as a Marine Corps might go through changes; from uniforms to battlegrounds to equipment, Marines, whether Active Duty or Reserve, will always be America’s warriors.
Few people choose to accept the challenge of becoming a United States Marine, and even fewer make the choice to maintain civilian commitments and serve in the Marine Corps Reserve. For every five Marines on active duty, there is one Marine serving in the Reserve or roughly 36,000.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve supplements the active duty component when called upon and reservists go through the same rigorous training as their active-duty counterparts. Marines in the Reserves commit to one weekend drill a month and two full weeks a year. However, because Marines in the Reserves have the ability to train part-time with a unit back home, they can continue to pursue a full-time civilian career or education.
4th ANGLICO, M Detachment, an all Reserve unit based out of West Palm Beach, Florida, is currently forward deployed in the Middle East with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command. M Detachment is comprised of forward observers, radio operators, joint fires observers, artillery officers and a corpsman, all of which play an important role in the SPMAGTF’s crisis response mission. Because of the unit’s all Reserve status, the Marines bring unique perspective such as firefighters, paramedics, police officers, teachers and mechanics; all skills they’ve gained from their civilian professions or educations, according to Maj. Jin Chang, a Marine reservist from New York and forward air-controller with 4th ANGLICO and M Detachment officer in charge.
Chang, who spent 10 years on active duty before making the transition to the Reserves and is on his fourth deployment, second as a reservist, is also pursuing a dental degree.
“Growing up in the Marine Corps culture… you’re able to approach problems from a different perspective. The things we’re taught ... BAMCIS, leadership principles, reading military books ... The Marine Corps builds leaders. We talk about it from the ground up, starting with our NCOs, we’re always talking about leadership, about taking charge. That’s where your military background a lot of times leads over to your civilian career. There’s a certain stigma Marines have, that when people know someone has served in the military that they are more equipped to handle all these different situations, people see Marines and know our reputation. It doesn’t matter what MOS you have, whether its ground combat arms or logistics- you’re a U.S. Marine.”
“A lot of Marines in the Reserves bring skills from their civilian jobs with them … you can bring a bigger punch to the fight with these other skills Reserve Marines bring,” said Cpl. Cameron Joseph, a forward observer with 4th ANGLICO and a Florida State Trooper.
M detachment, less than 20 Marines, is close-knit Chang said, due to the Marine Corps’ camaraderie and ethos imbued in them in recruit training.
“It’s going to be interesting when I get back from this deployment taking the uniform back off and putting that suit and tie back on. Who knows when I’ll get called to put it back on and serve my country again?”
While he may not know now, Chang and M detachment will be ready when called to put the uniform back on. They understand the responsibility of being a Marine in and out of uniform, and consequently, like all Reservist Marines do, they remain ready for that call.